On Remembering a Moment of Foolish Courage


It was 2am when my phone rang, waking me from a deep sleep as only a late-night call can do. I always kept the cell phone on, as my mother was living just down the street from us in the apartment of an historic home. The owners had moved to another state, so Mom was in the five and a half story home all by herself with her dog Sophie that I had adopted for her. 

Neese, this is Mom. The alarm is going off- I don’t know what to do!

My stomach immediately knotted. Instinct kicked in from some place I didn’t know I had, and I lept out of bed, instantly awake and full of adrenaline, my protective instincts going in full force. I didn’t stop to think or to ask questions, leaving Dan still wiping the sleep from his eyes. I ran- in my pajamas- to my car, tearing down the alley and to my mother.  

When I got there two minutes later, the alarm was wailing loudly. A lone man stood at the front of the house, and I jumped out of my car to confront him. I was foolishly brave, focused totally on protecting my mother without any thought of what that might really mean. We stood staring at each other, me in my jammies, quaking with raw adrenaline and not a little fear…but somehow feeling like I could take on the world. I told him the police were on their way. 

Oh, I’m good friends with the owners. It’s okay. I’m visiting with them. 

Well, that’s funny, because the owners are my best friends, and I’ve never heard of you before. 

He looked me over, seeming to be determining my strength or ability to stop him. He was obviously drunk, and I tried to keep him talking, praying that the police would arrive soon.  

Finally, he made a move toward me, then thought better of it and went tearing off down the street. I ran down the long ramp to the back of the house where the entrance to Mom’s apartment was, the alarm deafening. Mom was fine, but shaking like a leaf, and poor Sophie was still in her crate, practically catatonic. I got the alarm turned off, let Sophie out, and held Mom tight, so grateful that the man had kicked the door open and then ran away to the front door when the alarm sounded. 

Young Sophie…very sweet, but not much of a protector. 

Dan and the policeman arrived on the scene, and I told them what had happened. They both went out looking for the man, but he was long gone.  The policeman assured me that the man was probably just drunk and thought he was at a different house. That did nothing to calm my worries, and I stayed the night with Mom, then leaving my Doberman on her screened-in porch at bedtime to help her feel safe for a few weeks until she had recovered from the incident. 

Heavy D in her tiara…With her buddies Wayne and John in front of her apartment…

Life in the big city is rarely dull. It was interesting to see my instinct kick in, how the protective gene in me activated my body and my courage in an instant. I don’t have children, but I can only imagine that’s the zone mothers must go into when their children are in danger. All I know is that I was ready to do battle with the man because of what he put my mother through. Foolish courage, perhaps, but I’m thankful for it. Don’t mess with Poppins…or more importantly, don’t mess with those I love. It seems I become a ninja when life calls for it. 


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